One excellent way to market any retail business is through networking. And how do we network efficiently? By becoming involved with our community! Participating in local activities not only helps promote brand awareness
, it can also leave a retailer feeling great for giving back
to a supportive community. Here are five tips for getting a store involved with the community:
1. Volunteer Time or SpaceIt doesn't take much space for a small group to meet. Consider volunteering your facilities to local clubs or related organizations. For example, if you sell comic books or other collectibles, loan your space to the local collectors club for their monthly meetings. If you don't have the space, give of your time. If you sell books, offer to read to pre-schoolers at the library's story time. Besides getting the personal satisfaction of helping others, you'll be interacting with a few potential customers.
2. Teach a ClassMost retailers are experts about the products they sell and have a wealth of information to share. Check with the local college or library about teaching a class in your expertise. Another way to share all of that knowledge is by holding your own clinics right in-store. Many large hardware retailers have used this idea with free weekend how-to sessions.
3. Host or Sponsor an EventWhether it's the Relay for Life, Red Ribbon Week or some other local program, most communities have at least one large event in need of sponsors. Read the local newspaper for upcoming events. Can't find a local event that fits your business? Host your own. All it takes is a little planning, support from your suppliers and favorable media coverage and you have the makings of a wonderful marketing opportunity and a great community event.
4. Adopt a ProjectOnce you start looking for an organization to become involved with, you will probably find your community has many projects, big and small, that could use your hands-on help. Don't forget to contact the media outlets for additional exposure.
5. Join a GroupGetting involved can help build a bond between your business and the community. It also lets you meet others who may share common interests and needs. Become a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau or another club to make some business connections, as well as some friends.